Monday, October 14, 2013

The Difference of a Year

The first time I lost weight, my mother did not recognize me.

I had been in New York City for four months and lost about sixty pounds. I looked different.

Stepping off the plane, I was carrying a backpack, shoulder bag, suitcase, and a dog carrier; being loaded down, I did not act as my mother expected -- as I wanted. I did not run to her.

But when you're carrying 150 lbs of luggage and a small dog, running isn't much of an option.

And while not being recognized by my own mother stung a little, it was not traumatic. And all I can think really accounts for this is that I've never felt known by my family. I've always felt a little out of step, a stranger in a strange group of people, and out of place. It wasn't at all surprising that my mother did not know me.

The fault in this falls entirely on me. I do not share myself freely with my family. We have widely divergent interests and I have trouble connecting with them on things that are deeply important to me and I do not often connect with them on things that are deeply important to them.

A few weeks ago, I emailed a friend who was soon to be getting married.

A wedding in the autumn of 2012
I have not seen her in some time. The last time we saw one another I was in town for another couple of friends' wedding.

Emailing to check in and see how things were coming together, how she was doing as the wedding drew closer. I also told her that she might not recognize me. I wonder, now, if I had shared this with her as much for myself as for her -- trying to prepare myself for that possibility.

As such, it was not surprising to me that, having not seen one another in a year, and having lost 107 pounds, neither the bride nor groom recognized me. (Until I opened my mouth -- because no matter how much my face and body changes, I have this voice).

This, however, was traumatic.

There was this sense of not being known by people who do know me and who love me and who care so well for me. It was like being a stranger to those who know me best.

The reality, however, is that I am known by these people and many others. I am known by my friends who hosted me. I am known by my family to the extent that I permit them to know me.

A wedding in the autumn of 2013
And I am deeply loved by all of them. I am loved well by all of them. I am incredibly blessed by all of them.

Feelings are not fact. They do not provide us with any information beyond what filters are operating and what work still needs to be done.

I am known and I am loved.


  1. Congrats Mary! Can't wait to see you! I will know you <3

  2. Thanks, Amanda! Looking forward to seeing you in the spring!